While the heat wave in Melbourne continues, there's not a whole lot of stove-work going on in my kitchen. I do love the hot weather (reminds me of Greece!) but I've been pining for cooler weather so I can start making some soups and stews for the blog (and for our stomachs!).
These freezer-friendly concoctions make up a vast majority of Greek vegetarian dishes that I love to cook, and eat! However with the weather the way it is, no air conditioning in the house, and outdoor summer activities currently taking priority over hot kitchen activities, cooking soups and stews is on the back burner at the moment.
You can imagine then my delight when I remembered the batch of zucchini soup I made a few weeks ago that's been sitting in the freezer. Defrost, heat, photograph, eat, blog. Done.
Nup. Too easy. I was already feeling like a bit of cheat after my last post about Horta. Steamed greens? Yum, but not exactly requiring any culinary expertise or imagination.
So I thought I might try something a bit different with the zucchini soup. It's a sweltering hot day – not conducive to a bowl of hot soup – but hey, what a great day for a bit of gazpacho action!
(accidentally photo-bombing my own photo – at least the green dress ties in well.)
I've never made any kind of gazpacho soup before but I know that it's traditionally made with raw ingredients and there is no actual cooking involved. My version of gazpacho is therefore not traditional at all. It's simply a cooked soup served cold.
So thankfully on this sizzler of a day all I had to do was remove the soup from the freezer, transfer it to the fridge to defrost, give it a quick stir then serve with some fresh Greek yoghurt.
OK, I know what you're thinking. "Where's the skill in that?" but my justification is that I still had to make the soup in the first place... I just didn't make it today.
It was the perfect, refreshing treat for a hot summer's day and I imagine it would be even better if you don't defrost it completely, and transfer the still-slightly-frozen soup to a heavy-duty blender for a beautifully chilled, ice-flaked granita-style soup. Unfortunately my 1990s home-brand food processor isn't quite up to the challenge of ice crushing but please let me know, if you try this, how it works out!
Zucchinis are one of my favourite vegetables. They are so versatile – they can be roasted, pureed, cubed and fried, shaved or "spiralized" for salads, grilled, stuffed, steamed – and with each of these treatments, the flavour of the zucchini is actually completely and incredibly different.
My favourite way to cook this beautiful vegetable is to gently grill strips of zucchini until they are golden and sweet. The caramelisation of a zucchini transforms this vegetable into a real flavoursome treat for the taste buds, combining sweet and savoury sensations all in the one mouthful. Using caramelised zucchinis and onions in this soup is what makes it so sensational.
Today's recipe was originally made to be served hot, but after discovering it tastes just as lovely all gazpacho-style, we now have a two-ways zucchini soup!
It may not be a classical Greek dish, but it is bursting with Greek flavours like dill, parsley and garlic and of course MUST be served with a generous dollop of thick Greek yoghurt.
Caramelised Zucchini Soup with Parsley and Dill
- 4 large zucchinis, sliced lengthways, around 1cm thick
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Greek yoghurt to serve
- Gently grill or fry zucchini slices until golden and caramelised.
- Meanwhile, fry onions over low heat until caramelised, stirring occasionally. Takes around 30 minutes. Once onions are golden, add garlic and cook for one minute while stirring.
- Add cooked onions, cooked zucchini, parsley and dill to a food processor and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat in a saucepan and serve hot with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and fresh crusty bread, or transfer from food processor to the fridge and serve chilled. If you have a mighty strong blender, add ice to the mix for an ice-flaked granita-style soup!